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Youth group organizes successful West Philippine Sea forum

(NYMWPS) — In an effort to increase awareness among the Filipinos and the general public, most especially the youth, on the issue of the West Philippine Sea, the National Youth Movement for West Philippine Sea in partnership with U.P. Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, organized the West Philippine Sea forum with the theme, “Defending Philippine Sovereign Rights in the West Philippine Sea.”

It was held recently at the University of Philippines-College of Law in Diliman, Quezon City, says, Dr. Celia Lamkin, the Saipan- based NYMWPS founder, global chairperson and chair of the organizing committee of the event.

Click to enlarge
From left,  Maurice Phillip Albayda, administrative officer III of the Kalayaan Municipality (Spratlys), Palawan, the Philippines, NYMWPS Kalayaan chapter chair and the official representative of Dr. Celia Lamkin, founder and global chairperson of the National Youth Movement for West Philippine Sea, Dr. Jay Batongbacal, director of the  U.P. Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, Philippine Supreme Court Justice Antonio T. Carpio, Professor Richard Heydarian, columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Jose Antonio Custodio, military historian and defense analyst.
Attorney Viet Hoang, associate professor of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Law, Vietnam, receives the certificate of appreciation from the National Youth Movement for West Philippine Sea to honor  the Vietnamese fishermen who saved the lives of the 22 Filipino fishermen who almost died at the Recto Bank due to the ramming of a Chinese vessel. Also in photo: Antonio T. Carpio, Supreme Court of the Philippines senior associate justice.
Participants of the West Philippine Sea Forum organized by the National Youth Movement for West Philippine Sea at the U.P. College of Law in Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila.
An open forum was held during the West Philippine Sea Forum organized by the National Youth Movement for West Philippine Sea at the U.P. College of Law in Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila.  Contributed photos

The forum was attended by more than 300 participants comprising of students from different universities and high school in Metro Manila, lawyers and staff of the Supreme Court, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Navy, media representatives, lawyers, lawmakers, professors, teachers, research analysts, a diplomat of a foreign country, a retired Philippine ambassador, members and officers of the NYMWPS, among other people.

Philippine Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio was the guest speaker and guest of honor.

Justice Carpio discussed the historic maps of China used by China in claiming the West Philippine Sea and the rest of South China Sea. He said the maps are considered “Fake History of the Millennium and Fake News of the Century.”

Carpio said the Chinese government can’t comply with the arbitral ruling in favor of the Philippines on July 12, 2016, because the Chinese people will overthrow them. “The historical claims are totally fake. The Chinese people are good people.”

The 1734 Murillo Velarde map, the mother of all Philippine maps, included the Scarborough Shoal or the Panatag Shoal and Spratlys which confirmed that these islands and shoal belong to the Philippines, Carpio said.

“Teach the school children about the Murillo Velarde map and the information that Scarborough Shoal and Spratly Islands belong to the Philippines,” he added.

There were guest reactors who were invited for the open forum portion of the event: Jose Antonio Custodio, military historian and defense analyst; Dr. Jay Batongbacal, director of the UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea; and Professor Richard Heydarian, columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

According to Dr. Lamkin, “Recent developments and incidents in the West Philippine Sea have Filipinos abuzz on social media with differing opinions on how we should view and assert our sovereign rights in the areas which the U.N. Permanent Tribunal has decided in favor of the Philippines.”

She added, “In spite of our triumph however, Filipinos, sadly, are continuously polarized when it comes to how we should assert our sovereignty.”

Dr. Lamkin said the National Youth Movement for West Philippine Sea “recognizes the fact that the main reason why we are polarized when it comes to our sovereign rights is the lack of a true understanding of the truth behind the U.N. Permanent Tribunal decision and the principles behind it.”

For some Filipinos, she added, the polarized view is due to their refusal to understand the decision — “primarily due to their affiliation and support of the political personalities who are caught in the web of the sovereignty issues.”

Nonetheless, NYMWPS, which advocates the preservation of Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea, is relentless in its advocacy, she said.

“We believe that getting involved in preserving our sovereignty is a basic responsibility of every patriotic Filipino. And being effectively and adequately informed is key to awakening that patriotism,” Dr. Lamkin said.

“We, as a nation (the Philippines) cannot cease to care about a rules-based decision of the U.N. Permanent Tribunal. Our patriotism should inspire us to uphold our Constitution. And only by doing so can we move forward as a free nation,” she added.

The forum was sponsored by Dr. Celia Lamkin, Ronald Lamkin and the UP-IMLOS which provided the venue and technical assistance.

For more information, visit www.nymwps.org.